This is it people! It’s the final countdown for one of the most important days in music this year: August 25th marks the release of an album that has a huge hype around it for the past couple of months: The new Queens of the Stone Age album, Villains.
(In reality of course, since we live in the digital era, the album has already leaked for a few days now, meaning that the countdown never really existed in the first place…)
Yesterday I went to a local record shop and preordered a vinyl version of the album. That brought me before a big dilemma: Do I listen to the leaked version or do I wait until the album is released?
Having already paid for my copy I felt that it was ok for me to listen to it. At the same time I was growing impatient, having read all sorts of opinions about it from people that had already listened to the leaked version, so…
The Queens announced the release of their new album two months ago (June 14) with a video they uploaded on their youtube page. Besides the fact that one of the best rock n roll bands of this era decided to release a new album, the big news was that the Queens collaborated with perhaps the most unlikely of producers: Mark Ronson.
Yes, the same Mark Ronson that produced artists like Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars, Adele, Lady Gaga, Duran Duran, Lil Wayne, Action Bronson, Lily Allen, Sean Paul, Christina Aguilera, Robbie Williams, Estelle, Nas and Q-tip (to name a few).
Suddenly a lot of QOTSA fans went crazy. How would this work? What is Josh Homme thinking? Has he lost it?
The release of the first single «The way you used to do» seemed to fuel those concerns even more. It’s an upbeat track with a dance vibe to it that for some reason seems to have alienated many QOTSA fans. And now that the album has leaked and almost everyone has heard it, the hype continues. I have seen a lot of people really hate on «the new» sound of the Queens of the Stone Age.
Myself, I had always had mixed feelings about Mark Ronson’s work. For the most part, that has to do with the fact that I can’t really relate to many of the artists that he has worked with. I never was an Adele, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, Lily Allen, Sean Paul, or Christina Aguilera fan. On the other hand, I appreciated his work with Amy Winehouse, Action Bronson, Nas, Q-tip and even liked what he did with Bruno Mars. I also really enjoyed his personal albums and especially his latest solo work, Uptown Special.
Also I am someone who enjoys listening to the combination of different styles of music, so I thought that the idea of QOTSA collaborating with Mark Ronson was really interesting. To me the Queens had always had a dance vibe to their music anyway.
Having listened to the album twice already, I have to say that I really liked the result. I am not going to comment on specific tracks (except the two singles that have already been released officially by the bend), but in general I think that the Queens of the Stone Age – Mark Ronson experiment has worked!
Unfortunately, we live in a time of misconception, where information travels so fast that we don’t really have the time to process things. At the same time, lots of people seem to be reluctant to accept change and that’s something that we see every day on things that are far more important than music.
To me it seems almost as if lots of people had made up their mind about the new QOTSA album even before listening to it. Maybe even before listening to «The way you used to do» or «The evil has landed». If they weren’t Mark Ronson fans, that was it. And that’s a shame because (to me) this is a great album. QOTSA have delivered an album that keeps the band and their music moving forward while at the same time staying loyal to all those elements that got them this far. Heck, they even have a few songs that could have easily made it to their previous album, Like Clockwork that in general tended to move closer to «darker» sounds. Well done, QOTSA. Well done!